Conservation Is Essential to Save the Striper

October 3rd, 2017

The same week the 68th annual Vineyard derby came to a close, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of its 58th annual young of the year survey of striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay. This is the annual measure of spawning success in the region where the great majority of the Atlantic coast stripers come from. A year ago the average number counted in every seine haul was a dismal 0.9, the lowest ever recorded. In 2013, the number was up somewhat to 5.8, but still well below the long-term average of 11.7. Indeed, five of the past six years have seen below-par figures.

“We see that the legal-sized striped bass will be sparse in the next few years,” a Massachusetts fisheries official told the Gazette. (It takes six years for a striped bass to reach 28 inches, at which size the state’s recreational fishermen are allowed to keep two fish a day). Derby fishermen have simultaneously witnessed a substantial decline in the bigger fish. This year’s largest, of 487 striped bass weighed in by a record 3,160 entrants, were 39.94 pounds from a boat and 34.64 pounds from shore. The once-common 50-pound fish are becoming a distant memory.

READ MORE

“WHAT’S the deal with fish oil?”

October 3rd, 2017

“WHAT’S the deal with fish oil?”

If you are someone who catches and eats a lot of fish, as I am, you get adept at answering questions about which fish are safe, which are sustainable and which should be avoided altogether. But when this fish oil question arrived in my inbox recently, I was stumped. I knew that concerns about overfishing had prompted many consumers to choose supplements as a guilt-free way of getting their omega-3 fatty acids, which studies show lower triglycerides and the risk of heart attack. But I had never looked into the fish behind the oil and whether it was fit, morally or environmentally speaking, to be consumed.

READ MORE

Not Just Another Stinky Fish

October 3rd, 2017

Branford, Conn. — In a bay near this coastal town, the sea was boiling with hundreds of herring-size shiners leaping to flee a marauding squad of bluefish. “These waters are coming back,” Bren Smith yelled above the shrieking din, as sea gulls plunged near our boat, scooping up fish. Mr. Smith grows seaweed and shellfish in Long Island Sound, and he says he’s seen a lot more action out here recently.

What thrilled me about this scene was that I was witnessing what happens when fishery managers set strict catch limits to stop overfishing.

READ MORE